Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday that local officials will be moved to top priority in the COVID-19 inoculation list because of the nature of their work.
According to Vergeire, the Inter-Agency Task Force included governors and mayors in the A1 group, which was originally for health care workers.
“Ang local chief executives, governors, mayors from cities, and municipal mayors are frequently exposed to COVID because they are part of the response team, sila ang umiikot sa barangay para macheck kung maayos ang response natin sa pandemyang ito,” she said.
Several local chief executives were issued show cause orders at the onset of the national vaccination program in March for allegedly not following the priority line. They were eventually moved up to fourth in line with other essential economic workers.
Vergeire, however, said the previous transgressions should not be linked to the new rule because of successive deliveries of vaccines in the past weeks.
“That is very different, because during that time nang tayo ay nagbabakuna ng healthcare workers, kakaunti lang talaga doses ng bakuna at gustong gusto talaga mabigyan muna lahat ng healthcare workers kaya po di muna tayo nagsama ng ibang priority sectors,” said the health official. “Pero ngayon na ang bakuna natin ay medyo sufficient na ay maari na tayo magbakuna ng ibang prayoridad din at frequently exposed na populasyon.”
Vergeire announced the inoculation program will soon extend to the A4 and A5 groups.
The Philippines has received a total of 7.7 million doses of Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, and Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines. Over 2.5 million shots have been administered, while only 20% or 514,655 completed their vaccination.